We’ve all heard it, “The only way I lose weight is when I run.” Although it’s true that running is a very effective way to lose weight, there are some golden rules to follow for those using running as a weight loss tool. While these rules are directed primarily to first time runners or those returning to run after a year or longer hiatus from it, several of them still apply to all runners looking to shed a few by pounding the pavement.
1) Define your running goal, not just your weight loss goal. What this means is be more specific than saying you want to start running in order to lose ten pounds. Instead, clearly state how much running you want to be able to do (how many times a week, for how long, the type of workouts) and how long you expect it to take to get there. For example, “I am running 4 times a week for at least 3 miles each run by July 1, 2014.” Next, define how you will get there, such as “I build up my runs each week with a run/walk program.”
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Foam rolling is one of those activities that every runner hears they should be doing. We know it’s important, but we aren’t exactly sure why, how to do it, or when to do it. When done correctly, it’s a highly effective tool for recovery and will increase performance.
What the Heck is Foam Rolling, Anyway?
Foam rolling is a self-myofascial technique that breaks up adhesions and scar tissue that accumulates within our muscles during exercise and daily activities. Steph Creaturo, co-owner of Mala Yoga in Brooklyn, NY, teaches a yoga class specifically for runners that incorporates rolling with foam rollers, golf balls, and tennis balls. She equates a foam roller to a Zamboni machine for your muscles. Foam rolling helps to smooth out the rough patches, promoting better blood flow to the muscle, which reduces soreness and increases performance.
In a study published by Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, researchers found that foam rolling the legs after a squat workout helped speed recovery. The subjects who foam rolled were less sore overall, muscle soreness peaked earlier, and they performed better in vertical leap, range of motion, and muscle contraction tests. Adding foam rolling into your daily routine will help make you a more nimble runner.
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Babies are exhausting. As I new mom to a three-month-old baby girl, I know first hand exactly what this means. I also know what it’s like to be inside a postpartum body trying to get back into your running routine. It’s not easy to find the time, motivation, strength, or patience, but it IS possible! It gets easier every week to figure out your new routine, and your body WILL bounce back. Here are my tips for how to return to running when your world has been turned upside down.
1. Wait six weeks before starting to run again. Whether you ran throughout your pregnancy or not, you gave birth to a child and your body endured a huge amount of trauma. As a result, your body isn’t quite the same as it was before you delivered and it needs time to recover. Some doctors will tell you it’s fine to get back out there at your two-week postpartum check up. My recommendation is to wait at least six weeks after you give birth to start running again. Use the time to build up to long walks and maintain/build strength you need to start running again. Be smart and ease back slowly.
2. Start with run/walk intervals for a minimum of one week. Don’t make the mistake of trying to run for 30 minutes straight on your first run back after pregnancy. Instead, get comfortable with your new mom body by forcing yourself to incorporate scheduled walk intervals into your runs for at least the first week of running. How often? That’s up to you, but I recommend five minutes running and one minute walking. This enables you to check in with your body and make sure everything feels OK and that you are building back smartly.
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By Meghan Reynolds
Having a strong core is a major component to becoming a stronger, healthier runner. At Hot Bird Running, we give every runner 3-5 days of core exercises within their weekly plan. This is both preventative and strength building.
The core, comprised of the transverse abdominal muscles (deep abs), obliques, erector spinea (lower back muscles), and gluteal muscles (your butt), provides you with stability, power and endurance. If your core is weak, it can lead to poor running patterns, i.e. overstriding, understriding, or a pelvis that swings from side to side, and eventually injury. As a result, you are more susceptible to lower back, hamstring and knee injuries with a weak core.
The moves below help prevent injury, make you a stronger runner, and help make running more enjoyable. Aim for two sets of each exercise 3-5 times a week.
Strengthens: Deep abs, lower back
How to do: Begin by lying face down, resting on your forearms. Push off the floor, rising up onto toes and forearms so your body is parallel to the floor and in a straight line from your head to your heels. Make sure you are looking slightly forward so as not to put strain on the neck.
How much: 20-60 seconds
Make it harder: Extend the hold time or try lifting one foot off the ground.
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Food is your fuel. You need it to sustain daily activities and to power through your workouts. As runners, we need a combination of carbs, proteins and good fats to keep our bodies strong, healthy and provide us with enough energy to run and hit the times or the distances we want to achieve. While all runners (if you run, you are a “runner”) need carbs, proteins and fats, the amount and type will vary based on seasons. By seasons, we mean your training season (race season) and the actual seasons (winter, spring, summer, fall).
When you are in training, for a race or to stay/get in shape, AND it’s the summer, your body requires a higher amount of fluids, carbs and proteins. Below we’ve outlined what your body needs during summer training to sustain your athletic endeavors.
Fluids: The general guideline is 6-8 glasses per day or half your body weight in ounces. This differs for each person depending on activity level and the season. During the summer, you sweat more. Thus, you need more water and need to pay attention to replenishing your electrolyte levels. Add Nuun tablets to your water or eat saltier foods post workout. Let your thirst be your guide as to the right amount for you. Remember, if you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated.
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